Jan. 30, 2001
PSS develops alternate assessments
Public School System educators, with a Hawaii-based program specialist, initiated Friday discussions on how the local public education sector can reinforce the inclusion of students with disabilities in state-wide assessments as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Acting Associate Commissioner for Secondary Education Rita A. Sablan underscored the need to establish a firm set of guidelines that would accommodate students who are not able participate in district-wide tests due to certain physical or mental disabilities. The IDEA requires that PSS be able to demonstrate that children with disabilities are included in general state and district-wide assessment programs with appropriate accommodations and modifications in administration.
OVR consumer programs improve
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation yesterday expressed high hopes the agency will eventually lose its high risk status following the positive result of the ongoing technical assistance programs to consumers. OVR was removed from the reimbursement status in November 1999 which State Rehabilitation Council Chair Ramon C. Dela Cruz noted as a major progress due to collaborative efforts of various agencies. Mr. Dela Cruz said the remarkable improvements over the past year has impressed the Region 9 Rehabilitation Service Administration after the on-site inspection conducted in February last year.
Jan. 30, 2002
Foreign doctors bill axed
Amid strong opposition from the health sector, Gov. Juan N. Babauta vetoed a bill that seeks to allow licensure of foreign medical practitioners in the Commonwealth. House Bill 12-355, also known as the Foreign Doctors Licensure Act, is tossed back to both chambers of the Legislature, which both need a two-thirds vote of their respective members if they intend to override the veto. Had it been passed into law, the bill would effectively amend Section 2227(a), Title 3 of the Commonwealth Code, which provides for reciprocity licensing to physicians from the US mainland and its territories.
Saga of CUC’s $51.5M debt continues
Sen. Pete P. Reyes has revived a measure he authored in the 12th Legislature that seeks to transfer the indebtedness of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. from the Commonwealth Development Authority to the Department of Finance. At the same time, Senate Bill 13-5 seeks to ensure that any repayments made by the CUC to CDA should go to an account called Capital Improvement Projects Local Match Fund, to be used as a source for the matching requirement for CIP funds. Reyes said CUC should be provided with greater flexibility in settling this debt and any repayments it may make for these loans should benefit the Commonwealth and should be used to address the Commonwealth Infrastructure Program needs in the CNMI.
Jan. 30, 2003
BoR: Spare NMC from politics
The Northern Marianas College Board of Regents prefers to oversee the NMC operations independently and free from any form of political pressure, BoR Chairman Vince Seman said. In particular, Seman was referring to the recent calls of Saipan Rep. Stanley Torres for NMC president Kenneth Wright to relinquish his position due to his alleged questionable actions following his entry last August. “The accreditation standards mandate that there be no political interference and I believe that’s also a constitutional mandate,” Seman said. “I’m also a representative of people in the sense that I have my own constituent as a board official, but certainly I won’t go and tell the legislator how to do his job.”
User fee totals $7.8M in 1st quarter
User fee payments for the garment industry posted a slight 7 percent increase in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2003 compared to the same period last year but the figure is still far below the numbers posted in 1999, 2000 and 2001. At the same time, the Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association reports that the volume in dozens of apparel produced still remains approximately 5 percent down from the industry's peak year in 1999. According to SGMA, the drastic drop in sales-and the resulting drop in user fees paid to the CNMI government-is attributed to the nearly 20 percent decline in the sales price the Saipan factories can get in the global marketplace.